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Friday, May 18, 2007

Man Up! Chair's Perspective

Astonishingly, men perpetrate over 97% of all sexual assaults yet rape prevention is considered a woman’s issue. And historically rape prevention has focused on female behavior and how to “not be a victim” and failed to address the responsibility men have in preventing sexual violence. So, we as members of Man Up! are looking to promote greater awareness, to stop passively supporting the culture of rape and/or non-consensual sex, and to promote respect for women and consensual sex only.

There is no debate that the violent rapist should be held accountable for his actions. But what about the guy who ignores the first “no”, who “steals that extra base”, disregards a woman not responding or “freezing up”, or “takes advantage” of a woman who is incapable of giving consent due to alcohol or drug consumption?

As bystanders, most men seem to fall all along a continuum which begins at actively intervening to stop a sexual assault and ends at tacitly condoning by winking if they know their friend may score with a girl who, for example, has had too much to drink. But the question arises, what attitude should men have toward sex with women? How do men know when consent is given? What is the acceptable behavior of a man who knows his buddy intends to push a woman toward inebriation so that she will be more likely to “agree” to sex, or be less resistant?

At MOCSA, we have started the Man Up! Program for men who intend to continue this dialogue and that are actively taking personal and corporate responsibility for promoting a greater awareness of preventing sexual violence. This Blog is intended to help us advance this goal and we invite men and women to join us in this discussion. Our ultimate aim is for men to be more aware of the expressions, behaviors, and attitudes that endorse or facilitate sexual violence, to clearly define consensual sex, to seek support for men to stop rape, and to stop sex with another who is not capable of consenting. Mothers have spoken out to stop drunk driving. It’s time for men to speak up and stop rape. Man Up!
-Ken Mellard